G-ALWF

Viscount G-ALWF

Vickers 701 Viscount – c/n 5

With Channel from Dec 1963 to Dec 1965

Whiskey Fox holds several distinctions being the 5th Viscount to be built and the 3rd 700 series aircraft to enter service, while she was the 2nd of the type to be delivered to BEA. She then goes on to take the number one accolade by virtue of being the oldest surviving Viscount in the world today, having outlived most others after a long and distinguished career that began way back in February 1953. After 10 years of flying for her original owner BEA, the airline then began to dispose of its 700 series aircraft and much in the same way that BAF would later go on to purchase many of British Airways 800 series Viscounts, Channel would end up with 10 of these 700 series models – 7 of them coming from BEA.

It was during March 1964, that G-ALWF came to Southend along with a number of her former stable mates. She had already been converted to a high density seating layout which was ideal for the kind of budget flights that Channel would later become well renowned for. Resplendent in her new livery, she went into service the following month flying her first revenue flight between Southend and Rotterdam. She then spent the rest of the year flying charters to the Channel Islands and the Low Countries although by October, the winter downturn had begun and much like most of Channel’s Viscounts, she was leased to Eagle for the winter period.

Returning to Channel the following spring, Whiskey Fox was again put back into service flying mostly between Southend and Jersey although from time to time, she was called upon to fly the odd Eagle charter. Having been repainted in the colours of her lessor prior to her 1963-64 lease and in the spirit of Channel’s desire to keep costs to a minimum, it was decided to keep the aircraft in this livery for the remainder of her Channel service career. At the end of 1965, she was WFU and stored at Southend, her last service being flown from Jersey to Southend in November of this year. However, she would not remain here for long and by February of 1966, she had entered service with Cambrian Airways after a winter of maintenance work.

After almost another decade of service this time with Cambrian, the decision was taken to preserve this iconic airliner, being the oldest Viscount still left in service. She was finally withdrawn at the end of 1971 and sold to the Viscount Restoration Trust in April of the following year. She was initially kept at Speke in Liverpool although the decision was later taken to move her to Duxford by road where she would be placed in the care of the Duxford Aviation Society under the terms of a 99 year lease. As the years went by she underwent two major restorations that would see the return of her original BEA livery and a great deal of maintenance work, some of it quite naturally coming about as a result of her having been preserved as an external exhibit. However as of 2016, it would appear that she has been moved inside the new and much larger ‘Air Space’ hangar where hopefully she will remain.

 

History of G-ALWF

2/53 – 12/63

BEA

12/63 – 2/66

Channel Airways

2/66 – 4/72

Cambrian Airways

2/81 – ?/75

Viscount Preservation Trust

?/75 to Present

Duxford Aviation Society

Preserved at The Imperial War Museum, Duxford

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.